Hiking and wine are two of my favourite things. So, when I was recently invited to join Adelaide winemaker and educator Tom Robinson from The Hydropath Society on a 'Wine Walkabout', I leapt at the opportunity. Since winning the Gourmet Traveller New Wine Writer's Award several years ago, Tom has finally reached a comfortable state of what he says is 'Good-for-Nothingness and Aesthetic Frivolity whereby his solitary wish is to share this Sense of Bohemian Bonhomie through his Delicious and Diverse Wines with an Active group of Likeminded Folk.'
I translated that as meaning an expert wine and food experience to be savoured among great company in the great outdoors, and I was right. Tom is much better with words than I am and is on top of his game hosting short walks pairing local history with extensive knowledge of wine making. Despite the rain, we were well fed with delicious treats and had the opportunity to try well over a dozen wines from Australia, Italy, France and Germany. The theme of this particular walk was cool climate wines and the weather was perfect for it. As we walked, ate and drank we learned about wine and developed a comfortable camaraderie.
Start the day off right with quiche and a little white wine
The cool and wet winter weather was truly upon us as we met at one of the carparks along Brownhill Creek Road at 10.45am. After some introductions and a couple of cheeky pre-midday wine tastings served with 'Quiche a la Thomas' made with fresh eggs, we set out to climb a small hill to a quarry with views across Brownhill Creek to Carrick Hill. We enjoyed the views while having a lively and informative talk about wine regions and just how famous and important South Australian wines are in the scheme of things.
We then headed back down the hill to a shady green grotto by the stream. After finding the bottles of wine carefully chilled nearby like it was an Easter Egg hunt, we settled in for the second stop and the second flight of wines, titled 'Transcendent Translucence in the Clearing by the Babbling Brook'. This stop was focused on white wines like Chablis, Pinot Noir and Blauburgunder. The conversation began to flow easily as the group shared a perfect Panini Brothers Zucchini Pizza while the rain began to fall in earnest.
As we continued deeper into the gully the rain set in for the rest of the afternoon. The group was having a great time and it was decided that climbing Tilleys Hill in the rain probably wasn't the best idea.
The damp and intrepid troop found a welcoming tree canopy to rest some umbrellas among the branches while we shared in an amazing grazing box full of meats, cheeses, dips, crackers, fruit and chocolate. Plenty of creamy Udder Delights triple-cream brie was shared around with crusty bread and sourdough loaves. As we munched and enjoyed the superb food, the third flight of wines flowed freely. It was here we got to try some amazing red wines which paired well with the food. The group was relaxed and we chatted amongst each other easily as the occasional perfectly pure rain-drop fell into our glasses. We spent quite some time under the tree sharing stories and learning about so many more excellent varieties and styles of wine. On return to the car park, I'd say all of the happy and impressed group vowed to return to take part in another walk.
What makes this so special is the way everyone is made to feel part of the journey and the learning. It doesn't matter if you know a little or a lot about wine, you'll feel at home and enjoy the quality of four great things coming together. Great wine, great company, great food and the great outdoors.
The next Wine Walkabout series is planned to commence in Spring 2019. Express your interest in securing your spot now at www.hydropathwines.com or call or text Tom directly on 0423 507 366.